The Fruit Tree Magazine: "DETERMINATION: My key to ultimate success" Dami-Anne


As a monthly magazine aimed at projecting hope and strength, by reemphasizing the value of determination, focus and hard work through shared individual experiences, The Fruit Tree Magazine, produced by Ellis Mbeku, brings you another inspiring interview of our very Damilola.....

Common, let's meet her....

Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?  Kindly include some of your projects with dates.

"My name is Damilola Alabi. I'm a Nigerian and a yoruba girl from Ondo State.
I’m a UK based filmmaker and entertainer. I’ve produced several movies. I also act and present TV shows as well as Radio shows. This is what I do for a living. Some of my projects are The Rubicon (2014), Rescue Me (2008), Wannabe (2014), Temilorun(2017), Ruby Tales series (2014), Mystified(2017)"

Tell us about your childhood – Where you were born, what you loved doing, your hopes and dreams while growing up.
"My childhood was very good. I was born in Lagos State, Nigeria to an Accountant mum and an Engineer dad. I loved making friends growing up, I was quite the social type. I dreamt of been a news broadcaster because I admired the newscaster on TV."
What educational qualifications do you possess and how did this prepare you for a career in acting?
"I studied Law at the University and I worked in law firms for some years. It was while working at a law firm I had my first acting experience so while my educational qualification didn’t particularly prepare me for my film career, I can say it played a huge part in getting me started."
Did you ever imagine you would one day become an acclaimed and celebrated Actress and Filmmaker? What influenced your passion to excel?
"I never really imagined I would one day become a celebrated actress, all I knew at the time was it was a passion that I wanted to indulge in as much as possible. I just wanted to act that was all? Everything else that comes with it now is extra and very well appreciated. There's nothing like doing the thing you love and enjoy."
Describe Dami?

"I’m an easy going person, I do tend to care too much about what people say and think of me but I'm working on that as you cannot get anywhere in life thinking and worrying about what people think of you. I like to think I'm friendly and approachable but I'm quite shy and sometimes people misinterpret it as me being snobbish."
Tell us about the first role you played in a movie, what was your initial experience like?  
"My first acting experience was in 2008 on a movie called Rescue Me produced By Afolabi Makinde of Best of Your Choice. I played the role of a doctor who broke the pregnancy news to a joyous couple played by Clem Ohameze and Steph Nora Okeke.It was an amazing experience and I knew then and there that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."
Were there times when you wanted to give it all up due to challenges and difficulties? If YES, what kept you going?
"There were times when I felt maybe I was doing things wrong and I was sorely tempted to give up most especially when some people close to me asked me if I was sure of what I was doing. What kept me going was the knowledge that I love what I am doing and really couldn't imagine myself doing something else. I have a burning passion for acting and film production so I just have to make it. I told myself I needed a lot of patience and determination. It’s a conviction for me and so I made myself find different ways to approach the situation. That’s how I was able to deal with it all."

What episode in your career would you term as the most challenging and why was it so?
"The most challenging episode in my career was when I was just about to get into it. I didn’t know how to start, I didn’t know anyone or anything all I had was the drive. So I started going for auditions and castings and some of these auditions you have to wait hours before you get attended to and sometimes after waiting for hours they don’t even attend to you at all. And there were times I had to pay to attend auditions that nothing came out of. Also in Nigeria there were a few times I met some producers and they would make the most embarrassing propositions to me in exchange for an acting role. Lots of broken promises along the line.
For me challenges are a part of life how to deal with them and overcome is the important thing. And to do that one just has to keep going, stay focused, roll with the punches and celebrate the little victories."
What’s would you attribute to your successes, determination and passion?
"I will say for success one just has to be determined and passionate. You always have to keep your goals in mind. And the determination to succeed comes from the passion and love you have for what you are doing. If you love your career you will be determined to make it work."
Tell us about your first acting opportunity in the movie “RESCUE ME”. What was the experience like?
Like I stated, Rescue Me was a great experience and it cemented my love for my craft.
What been your biggest role in a Nigerian movie and how challenging was it for you?
My biggest role was in a movie called Simi, filmed in 2017 and it was challenging because I had to be my most natural self
Have you ever portrayed a role that reflected you real personality?
Did it make it easy for you to get into character?
"I am yet to play a role that reflects my real personality. I sometimes wonder what that would be like."
Would you say it’s easy being a film maker in Nollywood?
"Being a filmmaker is like any other Job or career, you have to put maximum work and effort into it to make it work. It won't be easy for most at the start but with tenacity and hard work it does become easier."
As film maker, what do you look for in a script?
"I look for a good story and nice dialogue and also because I write scripts myself I'm quite particular about details."
As a film maker, what were you initial challenges and how did you overcome them?
"My initial challenge was the lack of opportunities around me. Along with the encouragement of some key people around me, I decided to become a producer. That was how I was able to overcome that challenge."
What was the inspiration behind your movie, RUBICON?
How was the experience for you?
"The Rubicon was a great experience and a good learning curve for me. That was my first production. It was directed by the prolific Chucks Mordi who literally held my hand and guided me through the whole process from start to finish. Without his guidance I would have definitely made a mess of the whole thing."
If Nollywood was to make a movie about your life, who would you pick to play your character?
"Ha-ha. Great question. To be honest I can’t think of anyone who can play me more than myself"
Have you ever felt pressured or intimidated by anything or anyone?
What’s your advice to overcome this?
"Yes I have felt pressured and intimidated. And the best advice I can give is to remember who you are, know that no one holds your happiness except you and no one should have any hold on you whatsoever."

What’s your take on Awards?
Do they really give credence to one’s talent?
"Award is just to show appreciation for ones efforts, skills and talents. They aren’t a measure of one’s ability."
ON FAMILY/ Relationships
Are you married?
"Because what I do is so public, so out there, there’s a part of myself and my life I like to keep strictly private and personal. And this is one of such. Please permit me to keep it that way."
How did you prioritize career over family?

"I do not prioritize my career over my family.  They work hand in hand luckily for me."
Has being famous changed anything about you?
"Hahaha I don't think I'm famous enough to have changed anything about myself. Maybe ask me this again when I'm really really famous"
Is there anything about yourself you’d like to change?
"Wow there are lots of things about myself I would love to change yes definitely. But I will not be mentioning them hahaha!"
I think I find the most satisfaction when I'm reading a really good book or when I go to the beach
In view of your successes/ experience, what ‘bitter truth’ would you give to aspiring actresses/ film-maker?
"Bitter truth will be that there will be ups and downs, there will be moments when you feel like giving up, and there will be lots of people making promises they never fulfill but if you know you really want to make it in this career, never give up your dream and keep working at it no matter what 25. I act like nothing happened and keep it moving and if I can’t I just laugh before others do"
How do you tackle embarrassments?
"How I tackle embarrassment. I just laugh it off. If something embarrassing happens to me I'm the first person to laugh and that takes out the sting of the embarrassment. I know not to take myself too seriously that way a lot doesn’t get to me or affect me."
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
My greatest achievements so far are my film productions
If you could only save one thing in your handbag, what would that be?
"My purse definitely, I will save my purse"
What do you love to cook?
I love cooking spaghetti, I cook it really well I’ve been told
What’s your next BIG thing?
"My latest production is titled Mystified, an action packed romantic drama directed by the prolific Best Okoduwa. Starring Kenneth Okolie, Esther Audu, Stan Nze, Stephen Damian, Dick Elvis, Bolaji Ogunmola and my humble self. A private screening scheduled to hold next month.

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